One of horror cinema’s favorite cult classics has made its way to the Criterion Collection on a brand new Blu-ray edition. “The Blob” tells the story of a gelatinous alien that arrives in a small town and begins to devour the citizens of the community. A rebellious teen tries to spread the word and warn the townspeople of the danger, but of course no one believes him until it is too late.
One of the greatest things about looking back on “The Blob” over 50 years later is to see Steve McQueen before he was ever a star. McQueen stars as the teenager who first discovers an elderly man who is the first victim of the Blob. When a doctor and nurse end up dead next, he tries to spread the word to anyone who would listen. It is an interesting performance by the young McQueen before he became the king of cool.
Also getting his start here is Burt Bacharach, who created the catchy theme song which set the stage for the movie. This was years before Bacharach became a legend in music, and the mixture of his introduction as well as that of McQueen makes this B-grade horror movie something serious lovers of film can treasure. Of course, there is always more to a horror movie this treasured than just a monster. In this case, it is the allegory that follows the red monster eating America, a clear reference to Communism in the ’50s.
With that in mind, it makes the two commentary tracks very interesting listens. The first involved director Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. and actor Robert Fields. In this track, Yeaworth does a lot of talking about the production of the movie, working with a young McQueen, what he did to deal with the smaller budget, and the reviews of the movie when it was released compared to how it is viewed today.
The second commentary is with producer Jack. H. Harris and historian Bruce Elder. This commentary is not as good as the other, but Harris does go into good detail about the production of the film behind-the-scenes, obstacles that had to be overcome to get it made, financing, and working with Steve McQueen.
The other special features include “Blobabilia!,” which is images including stills, posters, photos, publicity materials and more, all collected by Wes Swank. The trailer and a booklet with an essay by “Empire” magazine’s Kim Newman completes the package.
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